Rockhopper prepares EIA for Falklands licenses

Rockhopper Exploration has contracted RPS Energy to carry out an EIA to gather information for drilling its Ernest and other prospects on licenses PL023 and PL024 off the Falkland Islands.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, June 4 -- Rockhopper Exploration PLC, Salisbury, UK, has contracted Surrey-based RPS Energy (RPS) to carry out an environmental impact assessment to gather information for drilling its Ernest and other prospects on licenses PL023 and PL024 off the Falkland Islands.

The EIA will be conducted simultaneously with Desire Petroleum's EIA over licenses PL006 and PL007 in the Falklands, which will save money for both companies.

RPS also will undertake an EIA for licenses PL032 and PL033 following interpretation of its 3D seismic data to identify prospects for drilling.

After discussing rig availability with contractors, Rockhopper and Desire Petroleum are hopeful they will be able to secure drilling rigs in 2008. PL023 and PL024 are in water shallower than 200 m and are situated relatively close to the Islands. PL032 and PL033 are in water less than 550 m.

"We are getting strong indications of easing in the rig market in terms of availability, though not yet in price, with floating drilling units suitable for the Falklands due to become available during 2008," said Sam Moody, managing director of Rockhopper. "While prices remain relatively high, we do not believe they are prohibitive. With this in mind, undertaking an EIA at this stage will put us in a position to act quickly when an appropriate rig becomes available."

Rockhopper also has farmed into licenses PL03 and PL04 operated by Desire Petroleum.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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